Milwaukee Small Plate Dining & Tapas Guide

Small plates and tapas might be a waning trend in Milwaukee as many restaurants move toward “shareable plates” and traditional entree portions. These 6 establishments still offer the small plate experience.

Map of Milwaukee Small Plates/Tapas Dining

1) La Merenda

View of La Merenda’s patio; Photo by Dominic Inouye

The global menu at Peter Sandroni’s Walker’s Point haunt highlights India to Italy, Argentina to Morocco. Choices come and go; if you find empanadas, pumpkin ravioli and Argentinian beef, go with them.
125 E. National Ave.

2) Odd Duck

photo courtesy of Odd Duck

The menu is diverse, most definitely not odd. Bein’ inventive might be a prereq for working here. Small plates are tagged “Animal” or “Vegetable.”
2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

3) Snack Boys Snack Bar

snack boys interior
Photo courtesy of Snack Boys

A decorative thread of 1980s neon and poster art filters through this offbeat bar. Tater tots, sliders, “radskis” salad and specials are worthy snacks.
814 S. Second St.

4) Movida

Stuffed Venison; photo courtesty of MOVIDA

The Spanish-influenced plates are small, but the flavors are not. The interior says “reclaimed old Milwaukee storefront.” Weekly live flamenco guitar, and flowing gin and tonics, say “Madrid.” Pair all that Espana with croquetas (fritters), meatballs, tostas (openfaced sandwiches) and paella.
524 S. Second St.

5) Balzac

Balzac Wine Bar

Walker’s Point and Bay View may be known for small plates, but the East Side offers this casual, low-lit venue just off Brady Street.
1716 N. Arlington Pl.

6) View MKE

View MKE’s swanky new patio

Seasonal menu features things like cheese and charcuterie, charred octopus and Korean beef tartare. Also wood-roasted pizzas. 
1818 N. Hubbard St.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.